I’m Going Back to Malory Towers

I recently discovered this captivating blog by Meenakshi, on an afternoon when some train of thought led me to a Google search for Darrell Rivers. The Head Girl of Malory Towers, my favourite boarding school of all time lovingly built by Enid Blyton. Meenakshi wrote beautifully from Gwendoline’s perspective, one of the (un)popular girls in the school, and her writing had me completely hooked.

Where have those innocent, carefree days gone when acing it in a subject, becoming School Captain, and catching your crush’s eye was the most joyful prospect of life? In our rush to grow up – or maybe we didn’t have enough choice – so many early pleasures of life have been strewn along the way, never to be reclaimed.

In Malory Towers, passions ran high when you “stole” someone’s best friend and sat next to them in class.

Waiting at the school gate at Half-Term, expecting your parents’ car to drive in any minute, was one of the highlights of the year.

The annual school function – plays and pantomimes – were huge on involvement and emotion.

Talking about your future ambitions with your friends, brushing away one career option for another, as if all of them lay in wait for you, their breath bated.

Not caring about facial acne, or caring too much.

Going on school picnics in casual wear and showing off your stylish, outdoorsy clothes to friends.

Being the “popular girls” or the ones who wanted to be, as if that was all that mattered.

I have spent countless afternoons lost in the world of Malory Towers, studying for exams with Darrell and Sally, going riding with Bill and Clarissa, playing the fool with Alicia and Betty, disappearing into my shell like Emily, being scatterbrained like Irene. I cried for a whole hour when the last book ended, feeling every bit of the bittersweet emotions that the girls felt upon graduating from school. I was completely silly and entirely happy all at once.

Lately, nostalgia gets a stronghold over me like never before. It lures me in with the prospect of reliving old joys, but by the time I come out, I have no idea where life is headed. It won’t do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, advised Dumbledore, and for the most part, I am cognizant of that. In fact, many of my former dreams have frayed and disappeared and not been replaced by fresh ones.

But sometimes, losing myself in an old world, forgetting the present as if intoxicated, and reconstructing fictional people and places like they were ever real, is the best dream I have. It is a dream I can make true if I put in just a little effort.

Advertisements

Trust Me, This Little Habit is Truly Life-Changing

It’s unlike me to propagate life-changing advice. I usually turn up my nose at anyone who does, for come on, everyone has a life that is diametrically different from yours, unique in a manner unknowable by a generic life-coach.

But then, I am not a life-coach. I am only someone who has recently picked up a habit and is all aglow with its miraculous power.

Here it is: Continue reading

A Little Girl & Her Mom At The Anondo Mela

Durga Puja C.R. ParkSomewhere, in a parallel world, a little girl dressed in Durga Pujo finery is walking hand-in-hand with her mom. The two are going to the Anondo Mela in the Mela Ground Pandal, one of the biggest puja pandals in C.R. Park, Delhi.

“What all will we eat there, Mummum?” The little girl jangles her purse. It is full of new notes and coins that her family has given her to spend at the Anondo Mela. Continue reading

Mom, The Birthday Girl

Today is my mom’s birthday. I went to wish her in the morning and she wasn’t in her room. I wondered where she had gone. Usually, she’d be fussing about, dusting this, arranging that, making me some coffee. Mornings were supremely busy for her – not that the rest of the day wasn’t. She has never enjoyed napping in the afternoon and usually undertakes massive projects like turning out old cupboards, finishing an entire novel, cleaning my bookshelves, making me a new dress, or sorting out Papa’s documents. And these projects tend to continue all through the afternoon, often alongside me, both of us working steadily on something or the other. Continue reading

Why Evenings Have Changed

Sunset
It is early evening. I can hear the birds chirping excitedly, convening to discuss the night’s meal and if the chicks are going to be happy with what they are taking home. The lights have started coming on in the windows I can see from mine; there are candles in some. An old man is slowly walking on the pavement, carrying a bagful of pastries for his grandchildren. I can hear their faraway giggles from the neighbourhood’s park; they are glad the swings are no longer covered in snow. Perhaps they aren’t his grandchildren. Perhaps his grandchildren are away, in another country, and he only gets to talk to them on Christmas and birthdays. Maybe he is taking the pastries for his wife. Maybe for himself. But I digress.
Continue reading

Year-End Resolutions – or Not – and Some Thoughts

New YearIt’s that time of the year again. When the year that’s been by your side all this while starts feeling old, and you can’t wait to shake it off, like a bad habit, and embrace the new. Or, at another extreme, you cannot let go of all that the year has shown you, and are afraid that the coming year may not be as compassionate. At this time every year, many of us ritually go through the process of thinking about resolutions. In simple terms – what can I do to become a better and happier person in the times to come? Sounds very noble when put like that, doesn’t it? After all, what’s the human spirit if not keen on bettering itself continually? When I think about it, there are so many resolutions I could make. Continue reading

Ghosts From the Past

Our paper skeleton didn’t look half scary. To be honest, he had such a goofy smile on his paper face that he couldn’t scare anyone even if he started jumping on the parapet. By his side, our felt-paper witch stood demurely, waiting it out till the sparkle on her hat dried.

“They make quite a pair, don’t they?” I asked Mom, nudging her as she put some final touches on to our jack-o-lantern. It was quite a task placing it at a location where our curious cats wouldn’t be able to overturn it and create a fire hazard. I watched as she carefully set it aglow and put the lid back on. The stairway lit up – a soft, gleaming light that dispelled all melancholic thoughts of early winter, even from my granddad’s mind. He joined us in looking at it and also dropped a few chocolates into the owl-shaped pouch we had hung by the window. We hadn’t explained to him yet what it was that we were celebrating. But he knew very well that chocolates were universal tokens of celebration. Continue reading

Why This Durga Puja Is Entirely Different

Durga Puja in CR Park

The sun is a beautiful shade of gold. The birds are chirping more often, almost glad that a long and dehydrating summer is on its way out. The air is fragrant – with the distant aroma of khichudi-bhog that hordes of people will queue up to eat. There’s no doubt about it – Durga Puja is here.

For a couple of wonderful days starting now, days that make up for everything else the year brings forth, C.R. Park in Delhi will celebrate merriment and gaiety. Children will dress up in their new clothes and run to the pandals, buying one ice-cream after the other from the many carts. The stage will abound in musicians and orchestras, dancers and nervous little volunteers making announcements related to the prasad and the anjali. By night, the lanes outside my house will be lit in a million colours, the fairy lights in no mood to sober down till long after the year has bid adieu. It will be a sight to behold. And here, miles away from it all, I will behold the sight only in my memories. Continue reading